Kai Lead US to Win Over Japan (Posted: 5/11/2006)
From the U.S. Soccer Communications Center:
SECOND HALF GOAL FROM NATASHA KAI GIVES USA 1-0 WIN VS. JAPAN;
USA SWEEPS TWO-GAME SERIES, REMAINS UNDEFEATED UNDER RYAN
Kai Comes Off Bench To Score Winning Goal in 65th Minute
U.S. Defense Limits Japan to One Shot on Goal
OSAKA, Japan (May 9, 2006) - The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team finished its two-game tour of Japan with a hard-fought 1-0 win over the host country as forward Natasha Kai came off the bench to head in the winning goal in the 65th minute in front of a large crowd at Nagai Stadium.
The USA had won the first leg between the two teams last Sunday, 3-1, but this match produced few offensive fireworks from either nation. The U.S. defense, marshaled by Cat Whitehill, was especially stingy, allowing Japan just three total shots, all coming in the first half, and only one on goal.
Kai came on in the 55th minute and made an immediate impact, stretching the defense with several streaking runs down the right side, but it was team captain Kristine Lilly who set up her heroics.
The goal came in the 65th minute as Lilly played a short corner kick to midfielder Aly Wagner on the right side. Wagner played it back to Lilly who dribbled at her defender, froze her with a shimmy, and then played a crisp wall pass to Wagner who sent a perfectly weighted ball back to Lilly making a run to the end line. Lilly then lifted a wonderful chip to Kai at the far post and the Hawaiian rose over a defender to power her header into the net from four yards away. It was Kai's third career international goal in just her fifth career match.
Kai was a member of Leahi 83 and plays with the Women's Open Division team.